Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Reload this Page >

Hotel used my real name in a TripAdvisor review reply

Hotel used my real name in a TripAdvisor review reply

Old Aug 6, 2018, 8:18 am
  #1  
Moderator: National Car
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SE MI
Programs: Delta PM, National EE, Hertz PC, Hilton DM
Posts: 2,170
Hotel used my real name in a TripAdvisor review reply

Well, this is a first for me - mods, please feel free to move if TB isn't the right place for this. Wasn't quite sure where else to post.

Recently had a less-than-stellar experience at a hotel (in the US). I left a review on TripAdvisor (factual, no editorial "fluff"), but it was not positive. In replying to me as many hotels do these days, the "manager" responded to the review by using my real name, instead of "Dear Mr. Dwbf11" or something like that. I found this odd because it looks like most of the other reviews are "Dear Mr. Username" and not real names. Nothing I wrote in the review is something I won't stand behind publicly, but I'd rather my name not be put up in that way either. I hope that this was done inadvertently (US-based hotel, but the English is not the best in the reply, so perhaps English is not the first language for this manager) but I also wonder if this was done to passively-aggressively get me to take the review down.

Does anyone know if this sort of behavior runs afoul of the TA rules/policies? Other than sending a note to the "manager" via email or taking down the review, do I have any recourse through TA?
dwbf11 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 9:21 am
  #2  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,271
Umm, well why would you ask your question here rather than asking it of TA?

Personally, I never write reviews either good or bad. Thinking about your experience in this case, I do think it brings up a good point. If someone writes a bad review and names the hotel, why should a hotel not be able to name the person if they respond? That's 'tit for tat' isn't it? You are saying, you want to name them but do not want them to name you! Somehow, that does not strike me as fair.

You say you did not write anything you would not be willing to stand behind 'publicly'. Well, stand behind it publicly. Standing behind it publicly of course means being willing to put your name to it just as many people do when writing a 'letter to the editor' of a newspaper for example.
Statman likes this.

Last edited by dulciusexasperis; Aug 6, 2018 at 9:27 am
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 9:50 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 412
Flag the reply and select the reason "Personal Information". TA will (eventually) remove or alter the reply to remove the personal information.
DutchessPDX is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 10:45 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Peoria
Programs: Southwest, Best Western Gold, La Quinta, Dollar
Posts: 819
Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis
If someone writes a bad review and names the hotel, why should a hotel not be able to name the person if they respond? That's 'tit for tat' isn't it? You are saying, you want to name them but do not want them to name you!
The hotel is what is being rated, thus it needs to be named in particular. Alternatively, we could review a generic hotel in some city somewhere and not give its name but what good would that be?
fredc84, strickerj, amanx and 6 others like this.
Peoriaman1 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 10:57 am
  #5  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,271
Originally Posted by Peoriaman1
The hotel is what is being rated, thus it needs to be named in particular. Alternatively, we could review a generic hotel in some city somewhere and not give its name but what good would that be?
What has that got to do with putting your name to the review Peoriaman1? Of course the hotel must be named, you're simply stating the obvious. My point was that the OP raises the question in my mind of why should the reviewer remain anonymous?

I don't think you can say, 'I would stand by what I wrote in public' and then NOT put your name to what you wrote. A review on TA is in public.

It's a philosophical question Peoriaman1. A point for discussion beyond what the OP was about but raised by the extension of thinking from what is in the OP.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 11:01 am
  #6  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,271
What would happen if all online reviews that people write, required them to put their real name at the end of their review? Would people still write the same things in the same way? Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? I just see it as an interesting thing to think about.
mmff, LondonElite and Collierkr like this.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 11:12 am
  #7  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 50,262
I don't see anything in TA's privacy policy which precludes it from providing your name to a hotel (or other travel services provider). However, because you have not provided the name of the property or the nature of the complaint, it is hard to tell, but I would generally surmise that if the property is small enough, you raised the issue directly to the property, and the issue or series of issues are sufficiently unique, e.g. you were the only person who both had inoperable air conditioning and food poisoning from room service, that the property derived your name from its records.

Either way, I can't see that the property has violated TA's privacy policy or likely its own. It would be fairly common for a hotel policy to permit the use of your name to respond to a complaint.

As a general rule, I would not post a business review without presuming that at least the business operator will have access to at least your name and contact information.
Often1 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 11:41 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Peoria
Programs: Southwest, Best Western Gold, La Quinta, Dollar
Posts: 819
Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis
What has that got to do with putting your name to the review Peoriaman1? Of course the hotel must be named, you're simply stating the obvious.
Well, it seemed more important to you than to the rest of us, since you seemed concerned enough to mention it in a bold font. I don't think anyone else cares.
deniah likes this.
Peoriaman1 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 11:58 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: South Park, CO
Programs: Tegridy Elite
Posts: 5,677
Originally Posted by dwbf11
Well, this is a first for me - mods, please feel free to move if TB isn't the right place for this. Wasn't quite sure where else to post.

Recently had a less-than-stellar experience at a hotel (in the US). I left a review on TripAdvisor (factual, no editorial "fluff"), but it was not positive. In replying to me as many hotels do these days, the "manager" responded to the review by using my real name, instead of "Dear Mr. Dwbf11" or something like that. I found this odd because it looks like most of the other reviews are "Dear Mr. Username" and not real names. Nothing I wrote in the review is something I won't stand behind publicly, but I'd rather my name not be put up in that way either. I hope that this was done inadvertently (US-based hotel, but the English is not the best in the reply, so perhaps English is not the first language for this manager) but I also wonder if this was done to passively-aggressively get me to take the review down.

Does anyone know if this sort of behavior runs afoul of the TA rules/policies? Other than sending a note to the "manager" via email or taking down the review, do I have any recourse through TA?
Names and personal identifying information are not permitted in owner responses:

https://www.tripadvisorsupport.com/h...nse-Guidelines

Respectful of Personal Privacy: No speculation as to the identity of any reviewers. Personal information of any person, including names, addresses, phone numbers or other information that may be used to identify an individual is prohibited.
[emphasis added]

Traveler reviews have some leeway in using names:
https://www.tripadvisorsupport.com/h...aveler-reviews

Respectful of Private Information
We respect your privacy and the privacy of the businesses we list. We want you to tell us all about your experience but please keep personal or exclusive information to yourself, such as door codes or passwords of any kind. Any reviews containing personal financial information, including credit card numbers, loyalty rewards numbers, or other financial information will also be removed. This includes both the reviewers information and the information of others. We allow names to be published to our site; however, we will remove last names upon request. This includes the last names of employees or owners associated with the property you are reviewing.
[emphasis added]
mmff, fredc84, chicago747 and 1 others like this.
84fiero is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 12:36 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
Programs: UA 1K, MM *G for life, BAEC Gold
Posts: 10,252
Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis
What would happen if all online reviews that people write, required them to put their real name at the end of their review? Would people still write the same things in the same way? Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? I just see it as an interesting thing to think about.
IMHO, it would be an excellent thing. There are so many fake reviews that sites like TA verge on the useless. If people had to put their names to reviews, they would be much more careful in what they write, which would lead to much more accurate reviewing, and much less blackmailing of perfectly decent establishments.

Also, TA, and other such sites, rely on not being deemed to be publishers so as to avoid being sued for libel for the slanders they perpetrate. It seems insidious then that the reviewer can remain anonymous, thus ensuring that slanders go completely unchecked.
lhrsfo is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 3:01 pm
  #11  
Moderator: Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 6,589
Originally Posted by lhrsfo
IMHO, it would be an excellent thing. There are so many fake reviews that sites like TA verge on the useless. If people had to put their names to reviews, they would be much more careful in what they write, which would lead to much more accurate reviewing, and much less blackmailing of perfectly decent establishments.
The flip side of that is that reviewers with legitimate grievances would feel uncomfortable mentioning them, for fear of retaliation by the business or other customers.
strickerj likes this.
cbn42 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 3:02 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Houston
Programs: UA 1K and Million Miler, *A Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, Hertz Five Star,
Posts: 1,301
This is why I RARELY write reviews. I actually think real names are ok. Just as we should be able to name the property, the idiots who gave bad service, and the poor service that leads us to shame the hotel.
Collierkr is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 3:07 pm
  #13  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,808
Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis
If someone writes a bad review and names the hotel, why should a hotel not be able to name the person if they respond? That's 'tit for tat' isn't it? You are saying, you want to name them but do not want them to name you! Somehow, that does not strike me as fair.
That's gross false equivalence. The review is about that property..the whole page is. That property is a big building with a sign that says their name, and it is representative of a COMPANY, not a PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL.

If the user uses their OWN name as the handle on Trip Advisor, I get it. However, the hotel is publishing the name of a guest in an unauthorized manner, without permission. "Doxing" them if you will. It is presumed that the COMPANY wants their name on Trip Advisor. The private individuals on the other hand have "user names" for the very purpose of anonymity and security, and are not the subject of reviews.

I am sure you, dulciusexasperis, have written your share of "reviews" and criticisms of various hotels and airlines here on FT over the years...how would you feel about one of them posting your name here in response? How would you feel if FT refused to delete it?
Scots_Al, ryw, deniah and 6 others like this.
Proudelitist is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 4:24 pm
  #14  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,271
Originally Posted by lhrsfo
IMHO, it would be an excellent thing. There are so many fake reviews that sites like TA verge on the useless. If people had to put their names to reviews, they would be much more careful in what they write, which would lead to much more accurate reviewing, and much less blackmailing of perfectly decent establishments.

Also, TA, and other such sites, rely on not being deemed to be publishers so as to avoid being sued for libel for the slanders they perpetrate. It seems insidious then that the reviewer can remain anonymous, thus ensuring that slanders go completely unchecked.
I'm in agreement both with the fake reviews it makes easier and the avoidance of being held liable for slander that sites like TA hide behind. It should be noted that in fact, if you can trace an individual who wrote something online about your business or yourself personally, you can in fact sue them for libel. One good reason for people to want to remain anonymous. They can slander with impunity. I see posters doing it on forums of all kinds including TA and this site, every day.

Originally Posted by Proudelitist
That's gross false equivalence. The review is about that property..the whole page is. That property is a big building with a sign that says their name, and it is representative of a COMPANY, not a PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL.

If the user uses their OWN name as the handle on Trip Advisor, I get it. However, the hotel is publishing the name of a guest in an unauthorized manner, without permission. "Doxing" them if you will. It is presumed that the COMPANY wants their name on Trip Advisor. The private individuals on the other hand have "user names" for the very purpose of anonymity and security, and are not the subject of reviews.

I am sure you, dulciusexasperis, have written your share of "reviews" and criticisms of various hotels and airlines here on FT over the years...how would you feel about one of them posting your name here in response? How would you feel if FT refused to delete it?
I don't write reviews as such Proudelitist. I do sometimes recommend a hotel in a specific location. I don't think I have ever criticized an airline. I have criticized air travel as a whole. I have seen individual here post totally insulting remarks directed at me personally and I have seen FT leave them up. Whether they are directed at my real name or my handle makes no difference. I would be fine with posting under my real name if all others had to do the same. I think i would probably win more defamation lawsuits I brought as a result, than lose those brought by someone else against me.

I agree they may have been 'doxing' but will you agree that if they disagreed strongly enough with the negative review, it might be perfectly understandle why they would do so. What other recourse do they have when someone writes a negative review they feel is unfair? Once again, it is 'I can hurt you in real ways through my review but you aren't allow to respond with anything that might hurt me in return.' I'm sure the TA rules preclude the hotel from venting with something like, 'you're an a###ole.' Where's the fairness in that?

I'm not suggesting at all that this was the case with the OP who may or may not have a perfectly legitimate reason for writing a negative review. But the fact is, TA is not a level playing field. Anyone can open an account and post any kind of negative comments they wish to make. Open enough fake accounts and post enough negative reviews and you can shut a business down because the reality is, a lot of travellers actually believe what they read on TA. Some may take reviews with a grain of salt but others do not and if enough of those others avoid your business as a result, you end up out of business.

How would you suggest leveling the playing field in reveiw sites Proudelitist and do you really think one like TA actually cares whether it is level or not? They are just covering their own butts from liability as lhrsfo points out and are notorious for knowing that fake and untrue reviews are posted on their site every day. Again, I'm not suggesting the OP did that. The hotel knows he is not a fake but they may well perceive his negative comments as totally unreasonable and have 'doxed' him in retaliation. If you punch me in the face, I'm more likely to punch you back than just ignore it. I'm not that strong a Christian to turn the other cheek, are you?
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2018, 4:37 pm
  #15  
Moderator: National Car
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SE MI
Programs: Delta PM, National EE, Hertz PC, Hilton DM
Posts: 2,170
Thanks all for the helpful responses and insights. To address a couple points:

No, I don't mind if the hotel has my name. The issues were raised with them at the time. In fact, I counted on them having my name, because I only filled out the TA review following receipt of a survey from the hotel (which I answered in full), and then was invited to fill out a TA review by the hotel in the same survey.

The review wasn't all negative, either. I lauded the hotel's location and value as compared with other hotels in the area. But I was sure to note the discrepancies I noticed between reality and other reviews on TA ("Great place!") and the hotel's own marketing materials (website etc.) If you looked at the hotel's website you'd have been expecting an upscale boutique experience, but I called out some of the reasons that would be a mistaken impression in a factual way - topics like very noisy HVAC, inop bathrooms, and security concerns. Interestingly, looking at the other 1 and 2 star reviews, many others who chose to leave negative reviews also remarked on the same topics.

The epilogue is that I sent a very strongly worded email to the "manager" who left the review, copying the "front desk" contact email, asking them to remove the reference to my name. I'll see how it comes back.
dwbf11 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.